The latest IPCC report emphasises on the increase in extreme weather events in India with a likelihood of more intense heatwaves on one hand and increased precipitation on the other. The climate in the North Eastern Region (NER) of India has been reflective of this impact with greater intensity over the past few years.
The NER is part of the Indo-Burma bio-diversity hotspot and is home to 15% of India’s protected area. While India saw 1% increase in forest area, NER saw a 5% decline between 2017 to 2019. The region is faced with the dichotomy of being home to some of the wettest areas in India that are drought-prone in the lean monsoon months.
Minor variation in temperature and rainfall in this region, can lead to substantial changes over small distances owing to the primarily hilly terrain. With over 70% rural population, there is a high dependency on natural resources. As a consequence, climate change has a serious impact on socio-economic development. Additionally, the low density settlements with limited connectivity and poor infrastructure add to the vulnerability of the region.
The Climate Resilience Index is a data-backed assessment that takes into consideration factors contributing to climatic vulnerability, existing adaptation mechanisms in place and ability of the system to bounce back in case of an adverse climatic event. The index thus measures the ability of a state to cope with climate risks. An assessment of gaps with recommendations on potential interventions based on ground assessment are being piloted in two states namely, Sikkim and Nagaland. The close association of the people with their land and deep rooted traditional practices emphasises the role of community participation in combating the risks of climate change. The unique demographic, topographic and existing cultural practices makes this a unique initiative that we are committed to serve.
The North Eastern Region has been relatively isolated and presents a unique opportunity to exemplify sustainable development given its significance as a biodiversity hotspot and the socio-economic reliance of the region’s socio-economic development on natural resources.
This study as a framework presents a relative comparison of the states in North Eastern Region with respect to:
Vulnerability: dominance of factors affecting climate change
Adaptability: coping and adaptive capacity
Resilience: measures the ability to bounce back post an extreme event
It evaluates current initiatives of states to combat the potential risks and gives due consideration to stakeholder views from experiences on-ground projects. The focus is to bridge gaps identified in light of bench marks and selected success stories from other parts of the globe. The experience of our on-ground partners helps us customise experiences from global learnings to local adaptability.
The Climate Resilience index is designed to serve as a data-backed tool to facilitate decision-making for on-ground action plans for states to implement.
About The Author: Ravi Bhatnagar is the Director External Affairs and Partnerships SOA, Reckitt
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.